Prior to football’s postponement, Fred was excelling for Manchester United. Gone was the doubt about his £47million price-tag (BBC). In its place, fans and pundits alike were praising the midfielder’s transformation.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian, Paul Pogba is now fit and firing, while Nemanja Matic is enjoying a wonderful renaissance. With Bruno Fernandes a guaranteed starter, United’s midfield three picks itself.
It is a big blow for Fred (and for Scott McTominay) but the Brazilian’s position among United’s substitutes speaks volumes for their strength in depth.
United now have a bench to rival England’s other top clubs. They no longer have an over-priced flop desperate for minutes. Instead, in Fred, they have a player eager to build on a wonderful second campaign at Old Trafford.
A midfield the envy of many
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a £47million midfielder chomping at the bit. And that is great news for United supporters who have seen their midfield toil for too long.
Suddenly, with the arrival of Fernandes, the recovery of Pogba and the resurgence of Matic and Fred, United’s midfield is among the strongest in Europe.
When United beat Manchester City to the signing of Fred, it was deemed a masterstroke. But the 27-year-old’s early struggles suggested the Red Devils had drawn the short straw.
Fast-forward to now, and a player with 23 consecutive Premier League starts prior to lock-down is back on the bench but not because of his failings.
In fact, the United star would get into most starting XIs in England right now. In short, Solskjaer now has options where others once managed with scraps.
Time to settle
Some players arrive at a new club and explode from the outset. United’s most recent arrival is testament to that. But most take time to settle.
At 27, Fred is now reaching his peak and that is only a good thing for a United side that could soon have the players to challenge both domestically and at Europe’s top table again.
With Odion Ighalo a worthy back-up striker, and the likes of Eric Bailly and Azel Tuanzebe waiting in the wings for a chance at the back, United’s bench is the strongest it has been in years.
But of all the players, Fred is the most expensive and arguably the most deserving of another chance to shine.
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